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Newborn baby diaper rash
newborns

newborn diaper rash tips: how to treat & prevent diaper rash & causes of diaper rash

8 minutes

07/10/2020

Newborn diaper rash is, unfortunately, something that most babies experience, in fact, WaterWipes parenting research revealed that nearly 9 in 10 (88%) said their baby experienced diaper rash. The skin on your baby’s bottom is sensitive and delicate, so it can become sore with all that regular but necessary changing and wiping.

As a wipe born out of a father’s desire to gently care for his daughter’s severe diaper rash, we know it can be worrying to find a rash on your baby’s skin but diaper rash is a fairly common issue and we’re here to help. In this guide, we share expert advice from the likes of dermatologist Dr. Cairine Wilkinson and Dr. Pixie McKenna, as well as newborn diaper rash tips to help you understand the causes, prevent and treat diaper rash effectively so you can keep your baby happy and healthy.

We will also share the ground-breaking, independent, clinical study results that revealed WaterWipes are the No. 1 wipe against diaper rash.5 Read more below.

  • 1. What is newborn diaper rash?

  • 2. Diaper rash symptoms - What does diaper rash look like?

  • 3. What are the causes of diaper rash?

  • 4. How to prevent diaper rash

  • 5. Diaper rash tips - How to treat diaper rash

  • 6. How long does diaper rash last?

  • 7. When to see doctor for diaper rash

1. What is newborn diaper rash?

Let's begin by addressing the first and foremost question - what is newborn diaper rash? Diaper rash affects many babies and is commonly caused by irritation of the skin.

Diaper rash can be characterized by red patches on your baby's bottom, or the whole area may be red. Their skin may look sore and feel hot to touch, and there may be spots, pimples, or blisters.2

2. What does diaper rash look like? Diaper rash symptoms:

  • Mild diaper rash – Pink or red spots. These spots may merge into blotches, affecting a small part of the diaper area. Your baby may cry when passing pee and poop.

  • Severe diaper rash – You may notice bright red spots and cracked skin affecting a large part of the diaper area. Your baby may be irritable and restless and could have a high temperature.

  • Fungal diaper rash – Inflamed skin and red spots around the edges of the rash. The folds of the skin may also be affected.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what diaper rash looks like and diaper rash symptoms. We know that the symptoms of diaper rash can look very nasty but soon you'll be armed with our tips and be able to better protect your baby's bottom in no time!

3. What are the causes of diaper rash?

There are several causes of diaper rash and sometimes it's hard to prevent them. Here are some of the most common reasons why your baby may be suffering from the effects of diaper rash:

  • Skin being in contact with pee or poop for long periods – If your little one is going to the toilet more often or not being changed regularly enough this can lead to irritation on their skin. Check out our diaper changing tips article for more info.

  • Bacterial or fungal infection – Sometimes the cause of diaper rash can be from a bacterial infection and this can then spread around your baby's bottom and genitals. The area covered by a diaper can be a breeding ground for bacteria, as it is warm and moist, and so an infection can quickly develop and spread.

  • Antibiotics – If your baby has been prescribed antibiotics then these can affect bacteria levels that prevent diaper rash from occurring, resulting in the very thing the body is designed to naturally ward off. If you're still breastfeeding and taking antibiotics this can also have a similar effect.

  • Chafing – If your baby's diaper or clothes are too tight they can rub against the skin, causing irritation and diaper rash. A tight diaper also reduces airflow which can lead to the diaper area becoming too moist.

  • New products – If you've decided to try a new baby shampoo or a laundry powder than this may have irritated your baby's skin, which could cause diaper rash.

  • Sensitive skin – Some babies just have more sensitive skin than others and so regular cleaning, changing, and using products can irritate it.

  • Alcohol-based or fragranced wipes – Wipes are great for easy cleaning but those that are perfumed or alcohol-based or contain a large number of ingredients can irritate sensitive skin.

  • Diet – Foods that contain high amounts of citric acid could cause diaper rash, this includes foods like oranges, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Hopefully the above helps you to understand more about the wide-ranging causes of diaper rash.

4. How to prevent diaper rash

You can prevent diaper rash by ensuring your baby is kept clean and dry when possible. We’ve listed a range of diaper rash tips below on how to prevent it so you and your baby stay happy.

  • Avoid soaps, bubble baths, and lotions. Wash your baby's bottom with water and avoid any products with ingredients that can irritate your baby's delicate skin.

  • When using wipes, use fragrance-free and alcohol-free baby wipes. Check the back of pack to avoid using wipes with alcohol or other unnecessary ingredients. Why? A recent midwife-led study conducted by the University of Salford (UK) showed that baby wipes with fewer ingredients reduced diaper rash compared to other leading brands. In fact, the first of its kind, ‘Baby Skin Integrity Comparison Survey’, compared the occurrence and duration of diaper rash on newborns by randomly allocating WaterWipes and two other leading brands to almost 700 mums. The study revealed WaterWipes as the No.1 wipe against diaper rash, as the babies cleansed with WaterWipes were less likely to get diaper rash and, if they did, it didn’t last as long.5 WaterWipes biodegradable baby wipes are proven to be purer than cotton wool and water, made using our unique water technology and they contain just two ingredients – 99.9% purified water and a drop of fruit extract, providing parents the reassurance they are giving their little ones the most gentle and effective clean.

  • Dry skin thoroughly. When changing your baby, dry the skin thoroughly, patting instead of rubbing if the area is sore.

  • At each diaper change apply a thin layer of barrier cream or a barrier spray to dry skin. Ask your health visitor or pharmacist to recommend one.

  • Avoid using talcum powder - this can also irritate the skin.

  • Leave your baby’s diaper off for as long as you can to let fresh air get to their skin. If this isn’t feasible, ensure dirty diapers are changed as soon as possible.

  • Bathe baby three times a week. It is fine to bathe your baby every day (especially if they have baby eczema) but three times a week is usually enough to keep the skin clean. A pure wipe such as WaterWipes can be used to gently and effectively cleanse in between bath times.

Using only the purest products on your baby’s bottom can help prevent diaper rash and help with treating it, so before you buy anything, read the ingredients list and make sure you know what each one does.

Where wipes are concerned, that’s easy. WaterWipes are made from 99.9% water and a drop of fruit extract. That’s why they’re the world’s purest baby wipes.

“The best way to deal with diaper rash is to try to prevent your baby from getting it in the first place. But, if your baby gets diaper rash, you can usually treat their skin yourself,” dermatologist Dr. Cairine Wilkinson claims.

Follow these tips on how to prevent diaper rash and read our diaper changing tips article to be sure you'll have a happy baby come diaper changing time. However, we understand that sometimes these things can't be prevented so if you're dealing with a dreaded case of diaper rash, here are our top tips for handling it.

5. Diaper rash tips - how to treat diaper rash

You can treat diaper rash at home with over-the-counter medicines and a little extra TLC . Here are our diaper rash treatment tips on how to tackle this uncomfortable issue and get your baby back to their usual happy self.

Let your baby's skin breathe

Try to air out your baby's skin regularly with no diaper time for short periods. It's also a good idea to use diapers that are a little larger than your baby needs while treating diaper rash. This allows your baby's skin plenty of air to heal and dry out a little to stop the rash from getting worse.

Check and change their diaper regularly

Ensure they aren't sat in wet or soiled diapers for longer than necessary – try to change them as soon as they have peed or pooped. This does mean you will need to keep a very close eye on them and check their diapers regularly throughout the day.

Carefully clean the affected area

Use WaterWipes to clean your baby's bottom after each change, then dry with a clean towel. Pat the area rather than rubbing to ensure you don't irritate the skin further. You could also use a soft cotton wool ball and warm water.

Bathe your baby every day

While you may use wipes in between baths, we recommend bathing your little one every day while treating diaper rash. Use a fragrance-free soap to avoid any further irritation and soak their skin in warm water before gently drying after.

Apply an over the counter cream or ointment

Speak to your pharmacist or doctor about the best ointments to treat diaper rash. A cream or ointment that contains zinc oxide is a good choice as this creates a protective layer on skin and relieves irritation. Check the ingredients and choose an all-natural product if you can that is free of petrolatum, phthalates and parabens.

6. How long does diaper rash last?

If you're in the position that your baby already has diaper rash then we're sure you're eager to know how long this diaper rash may last.

“Diaper rash should clear up after about three days .’ Dr. Pixie McKenna assured us. “However, if you are at all concerned about the rash, if you think your baby has something that is not diaper rash and has lingered longer than three days or if it is causing your baby discomfort, get advice from a doctor.”

7. When to see a doctor for diaper rash

If you've done all you can to clear up that case of diaper rash but it doesn't seem to be going away or has got worse, it may be time to visit the doctor's office. Here's when to consider booking that appointment.2

  • If your baby's skin bleeds, itches, or is oozing.

  • If your baby has a fever.

  • If your baby appears to be experiencing discomfort when peeing or pooping.

  • If the diaper rash gets worse after home treatment.

You know your baby better than anyone, so if you feel that something isn't right, get them to a professional as soon as you can for guidance. Your doctor may prescribe you a mild steroid (hydrocortisone) cream if home remedies aren't working or topical or oral antibiotics for more severe infections.

We know that dealing with newborn diaper rash is never a fun job and all the above questions are very normal to have. But now you know what diaper rash is, what diaper rash looks like, diaper rash symptoms, diaper rash causes, how long diaper rash lasts, and how to treat and prevent future diaper rash so now you can face that dreaded irritation with ease. If you found our newborn diaper rash tips useful, be sure to take a look at our other baby skin articles on our Parenting Hub below, or find out more about why WaterWipes are the No.1 wipe against diaper rash:

References
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  1. Mayo Clinic, Diaper Rash, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diaper-rash/symptoms-causes/syc-20371636, [Last accessed 14th May 2021]

  2. Mayo Clinic, Diaper Rash, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diaper-rash/symptoms-causes/syc-20371636, [Last accessed 14th May 2021]

  3. Mayo Clinic, Diaper Rash https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diaper-rash/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371641, [Last accessed 14th May 2021]

  4. Kids Health from Nemours, Diaper Rash, https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/diaper-rash.html, [Last accessed 6th May 2021]

  5. Price AD et al. The BaSICS (Baby Skin Integrity Comparison Survey) study: A prospective experimental study using maternal observations to report the effect of baby wipes on the incidence of irritant diaper dermatitis in infants, from birth to eight weeks of age. Pediatrics and Neonatology. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedneo.2020.10.003. Last accessed 14th May 2021.

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